Escape Velocity

A curated Collection of Fantasy and Science Fiction Media

Reviewed by:

In order to obtain UK citizenship, a man sits a difficult immigration test. Before he finishes, though, the session is disturbed by some unexpected visitors and the afternoon takes a grim turn…

I’m a big fan of Sylvain Neuvel since I read the Themis Files, so when a short story from his pen appeared in my audiobook app, I immediately tapped.

I love The Test because it is a great example of a sci-fi short story in the tradition of the great masters such as Philip K. Dick and Isaac Asimov, placed into our modern time.

It takes an interesting science-fiction concept and inserts it into a short story with a great twist. The concept fits neatly into the short format and Neuvel makes his point without bloating the story. The bite-size nature of The Test means there is no need to stretch the suspense and the twist is delivered quickly and effectively, while leaving just enough room to explore its meaning. Neuvel does not need to explain everything and is comfortable leaving a lot tot the reader to imagine.

What is left is relatively minimal, but that does not mean that The Test is a light read. It delivers scathing societal commentary and raises thought-provoking philosophical questions. It is one of those stories that prove that good sci-fi is political – its near-future premise and reflection of current societal morals means it cannot be read without considering what implementing a concept similar to The Test would mean in our own reality.

The Test is a true conversation starter that constantly places you in the shoes of the main character and makes you consider tough moral questions – definitely worth spending a couple of hours on!

Share this post: